Luminary Festival is a magical event

By Bryn Manion
News commentary

The St. Anthony Park Elementary School community had an unforgettable Luminary Festival at Langford Park at the end of February!

From beginning to end, the school and broader SAP community displayed generosity, creativity and teamwork to pull our winter oasis together.

Volunteers descended on SAP Elementary’s playground and Langford Park on Friday, Feb. 24, a day before the festival began, to stomp down the 16 inches of fresh fallen snow that week. SAP parent Ryan Courtney spent hours snow blowing the trail and performance circle.

Anna Gaseitsiwe, founder of The Makery, started working early on Saturday morning, Feb. 25, hanging hundreds of glass jars in the school forest and assembling an eight-foot tall plywood light pillar.

Meanwhile teams of parents and children filled over 800 bags with sand and candles and lined the pathway with the luminaries. Other families brought over a few hundred ice lanterns and placed them at the bases of trees!

Then we all waited!

When the sun set and darkness settled into the park, the full impact of our cooperative teamwork was apparent: The lights were magical, filling us with a sense of wonder! They set the stage for a mesmerizing fire dancing performance on Saturday night and enchanting “crankie” storytelling sessions presented by SAP librarian, Alisa Mee, on Sunday.

More than 450 people attended this year’s festival on Saturday alone. (Attendance was not tracked on Sunday.) This festival was funded, in part, by a generous grant from the SAP Foundation, as well as cash and goods donations from individuals.

If you enjoyed the festival and feel moved to donate, please visit: givemn.org/event/sapluminary

We are already looking forward to next year and hope to see you all there.

Bryn Manion is a parent volunteer with the St. Anthony Park School Association.

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